Archives are wonderful things.
Back in March I was humping and hooking with an ancient piece of work that I wrote back in the 80s. It never had a title but if it did it would be called something like “The Rake and the Bluestocking” and there would be a dangerous looking man on a black stallion rearing over a shrinking blonde in white muslin on the cover. Get the picture? I couldn’t so have posted the one to the left, which I actually find deeply unsexy, which is probably why I write for the other team.
To recap: Sir Anthony Stanton-Rivers, 21 and v. v. pretty, has a grand night out with his friends. Next day his sister has a scrap with her maid over being such a bear [by which I mean she’s growly not butch and hairy, we are in M/F territory for a change] because her previous suitor, one Captain Rory MacLeod, turned out to be a fortune hunter. The last bit was here, I’ve skipped a bit that I thought was infodumpy – hey this is Regency romance, you could probably write this better yourself – now read on:
[Cicely works on some letters and stuff while trying not to think about Rory]
The door opened, breaking her concentration still further, and to her surprise her brother entered, wincing in the watery sunlight.
“Aubrey,” she cried. “You’re up so early. It wants a full hour to noon.”
“Hush,” he pleaded, “and, for pity’s sake, help me to a chair.”
With a tolerant smile, Cicely quickly placed him in a seat, his slippered feet were propped upon a footstool and a handkerchief drenched in lavender water was draped across his aching brow.
“You look awful,” she said.
“I have no doubt but that I do,” he agreed, and then rolled a bloodshot blue eye in Agnes direction. “Agnes, I need to speak to my sister. I’m sure that there must be some crisis brewing in the servants hall with which Tench needs your expert assistance.”
Agnes collected her sewing and departed while Aubrey peered blearily at his sister and waved her back to her chair.
“You’d better sit down, Sissy,” he said bleakly. “I am afraid that I have done something terrible.”
“Terrible?” Cicely’s smile tried to be reassuring but her concern was clear. “How terrible? Have you been rude to somebody important? Or, oh Aubrey, you haven’t called anyone out!”
“No,” Aubrey moaned, “not as bad as that. Well, yes, come to think of it, worse even. You see last night Chum and Freddy and Charles and me were gambling and…”
“Oh, Aubrey,” Cicely sighed wearily. “Not again! How much did you lose?”
“Not “how much”, Sissy,” Aubrey whispered, eyes fixed firmly upon his slippers. “I lost you.”